Long-term drought plan is es­sen­tial

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - PESTS -

THE NSW Farmers’ As­so­ci­a­tion has wel­comed the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s drought an­nounce­ments, which fo­cus on a long-term ap­proach to drought man­age­ment.

The mea­sures an­nounced at the Drought Sum­mit in Canberra in­cluded the Fu­ture Drought Fund, a $3.9 bil­lion ini­tia­tive that aims to im­prove drought re­silience, pre­pared­ness and re­cov­ery across re­gional Aus­tralia.

The fund will pro­vide grants to as­sist pri­mary pro­duc­ers, non-gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties to pre­pare for and re­spond to the im­pact of drought.

It will also pro­vide for ser­vices, re­search, the adop­tion of tech­nol­ogy, ad­vice and in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port long-term sus­tain­abil­ity in the event of drought, through cap­i­tal or on­go­ing ini­tia­tives.

Other an­nounce­ments in­cluded:

■ $50 mil­lion for stock wa­ter­ing in­fra­struc­ture on drought-af­fected farms.

■ The num­ber of coun­cils el­i­gi­ble for fund­ing un­der the Drought Com­mu­ni­ties Pro­gramme to in­crease from 60 to 81.

■ $11m to ex­pand ser­vices un­der the Em­pow­er­ing Com­mu­ni­ties ini­tia­tive at the six ex­ist­ing Pri­mary Health Net­works (sub­ject to drought) and the ad­di­tion of two new PHNs in the Ne­pean Blue Moun­tains and South­east re­gions.

■ $30 mil­lion for se­lected char­i­ties to con­tinue sup­port­ing farmers, farm work­ers and farm sup­pli­ers who are fac­ing hard­ship aris­ing from drought.

NSW Farmers’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent James Jack­son said tak­ing a long-term ap­proach to drought man­age­ment plan­ning was es­sen­tial.

“There isn’t a one-size-fit­sall ap­proach to drought man­age­ment,” he said.

“It re­quires a multi-pronged ap­proach that will in­evitably change as drought con­tin­ues.”

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